When we featured Ramzan Kadyrov on our list of social-media-savvy dictators
, this inconspicuous Instagram
account -- filled with photo after photo of moments from the pro-Kremlin Chechen leader's private life -- wasn't on our radar. Under the name "alihan777,” the account has posted more than 300 photos over the past four months and attracted more than 12,400 followers. In an effort to verify the authenticity of the account, we reached out to Kadyrov via Twitter but have yet to hear back.
For the time being, the Chechen leader doesn’t seem to mind the photos and has even been posting links to them on his Twitter account.
Translation: “Look at the photo I found on @alihan777”
The link (see below) is to a snapshot of an apparent meeting between Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Kadyrov (from left to right):
That's not the only photo Kadyrov has with Surkov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former chief ideologist and political manager. The Instagram account is littered with photos of Surkov and Kadyrov at soccer games
, in the great outdoors
, at one of his palaces
Browsing through Kadyrov’s Instagram account amounts to discovering a trove of bits and pieces from the extravagant private life of a man accused by human rights groups of torturing and ordering the killing of his political opponents.
RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service
helped us identify some of the most prominent people featured in the photos:
Svetlana Bondarchuk, the wife of famous Russian actor, director, and film producer Fyodor Bondarchuk, is holding what appears to be Kadyrov’s storied gold-plated gun:
A fervent supporter of polygamy, Kadyrov has spoken out in favor of the practice and even announced
he is seeking a second "beautiful" wife. He married wife Medni Musaevna Kadyrova (see photo below) in 1996 but is rumored to have already taken a second wife:
Kadyrov playing around with Colonel Abuzaid Vismuradov, his chief of security, notorious for his harsh treatment of Kadyrov’s opponents:
Kadyrov strikes a pose with one of Russia's wealthiest businessmen, Ruslan Baisorov (center), and Adam Delimkhanov (right), a former deputy prime minister of Chechnya and a member of the Russian State Duma for Putin’s United Russia party. In 2009, Delimkhanov was sought by Interpol in connection with the assassination of a former Chechen military commander. He was removed from the list on January 23, 2012.
Baisarov, who is originally from Chechnya, also has close ties to Kadyrov.
Just how close are Putin and Kadyrov? In December 2012, Kadyrov ordered the closure
of a Chechen newspaper called "Kadyrov's Path" after he expressed dislike of a "provocative" question the Chechen reporter had asked Putin at his annual press conference in Moscow.
In the above photo, Putin can be seen strolling with one of Kadyrov's sons at one of the leader's residences in Chechnya.
The following photos are just a few of the countless others that the account has posted, showcasing the Chechen leader either working out, cuddling with baby chicks, or curling up with tiger cubs.
Kadyrov with a tiger cub:
...and a newborn chick.
And finally, a celebrity snapshot with Hollywood actor Jean-Claude van Damme, who attended Kadyrov's birthday bash
-- Deana Kjuka & RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service
UPDATE: It now appears that Kadyrov's Instagram
account has been deactivated.